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Clippers' Kawhi Leonard Hasn't Progressed Beyond Individual Work in Knee Injury Rehab

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 8, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 8: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers warms up prior to the game against the Golden State Warriors on March 8, 2022 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

It doesn't appear as though Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will return to game action imminently.

According to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times, Clippers head coach Ty Lue said Friday that Leonard is still doing individual work and has not yet progressed to three-on-three.

The 30-year-old Leonard has not played at all this season due to a torn ACL suffered in last year's playoffs.

While Leonard has been working hard individually, it remains unclear if he will be able to return at all this season.

ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk appeared this week on Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective (h/t HoopsHype.com) and said there is still no timetable for his return.

Even without Leonard for the entire season and without Paul George for 50 games, the Clippers have managed to go 40-40 and clinched a spot in the Western Conference postseason play-in tournament, which begins Tuesday. 

George recently returned to provide the Clips with a major boost, as did trade deadline acquisition Norman Powell. Leonard returning as well would make L.A. one of the biggest threats out West.

Kawhi is one of the NBA's best when healthy, earning five All-Star nods and two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards during his career. He also led both the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors to a championship, being named NBA Finals MVP each time.

Injuries have been a major issue for Leonard in recent years, as he missed all but nine games in 2017-18 and hasn't appeared in more than 60 games in a regular season since.

Part of that has been by design with the Raptors and Clippers both trying to keep him fresh and healthy for the playoffs.

In 52 games last season, Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.9 three-pointers made and 1.6 steals while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc.

The cautious approach ultimately didn't work out for Leonard and the Clippers, though, as he tore his ACL during the second round of the playoffs.

L.A. made it to the Western Conference Finals last season for the first time in franchise history, but it is difficult to envision a repeat without Leonard, especially in a stacked conference headlined by the Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors.